DETERMINED DUO: Avid fundraiser and humanitarian Nazim Ali along with 15-year-old Sufyaan Bashir will climb three of the country’s highest peaks in 24-hours
Bradford duo ready to take on the Three Peaks challenge raising crucial funds
A serial volunteer and avid fundraiser who has pulled in well over £120,000 for numerous charities both here in Britain and abroad, is at it again.
This time Nazim Ali, less than eight-weeks since he raised money by completing a gruelling run whilst fasting, has paired up with a friend’s 15-year-old son Sufyaan Bashir to take on the Three Peaks challenge.
The challenge on Saturday 26th August is hoping to raise crucial funds to buy food parcels for Syrian refugees and get clean water to Gaza.
Nazim and Sufyaan, with a group of 28 others, will climb the three highest peaks in the country - Ben Nevis in Scotland, Scafell Pike in England and Mount Snowdon in Wales… all in under 24-hours!
Sufyaan, a Bingley Grammar School student who lives in Keighley is a fitness fanatic. “I am excited by this challenge and know it won’t be easy - as Nazim keeps reminding me,” laughs Sufyaan.
“However, I did Mount Snowdon last year for charity and felt physically very strong. It helps that I attend regular circuit-training workout classes and am a keen rugby player in school.
“The main thing is to raise lots of money for food parcels in Syria and clean water in Gaza. I am grateful to Nazim for his support and encouragement in doing this amazing challenge. It’s time to get training and raising lots of money.”
Funds raised will be split between two projects: The food parcels for Syria, which cost £20 each, provide a family of five with 7-10 days supply of food inside war ravaged Syria and displaced Syrian refugees.
“The situation is so bad in Syria that people have been known to eat grass and dead animals to survive due to the on-going civil war which shows no sign of ending,” says Nazim.
"We will be raising money for the Dewsbury-based International humanitarian organisation, SKT Welfare which operates on 100% donation policy.
“Our target is £3,000 which will be equally split 50-50 between Syria and Gaza.
The Water for Gaza (Palestine) initiative, will introduce desalination plants that purify sea water. £83 per day will provide 50,000 litres of clean water for 70,000 Palestinians.
“Gaza is one of the most densely populated areas in the world, and ongoing assaults have left the territory’s 1.8 million residents facing an imminent water crisis. Statistically around 90% of the Gaza strip’s water is undrinkable,” adds Nazim.
“Without water, no reconstruction and no rebuilding of lives can take place.
“Medicine, sanitation, hygiene, and crucial facilities that depend on water all suffer.
“Contaminated water is causing several illnesses including, renal failure, high blood pressure and osteoporosis.
“Most families spend a bulk of their earnings on contaminated water. The grim water statistics are part of a recent UN report on Gaza, which says the Gaza Strip will become uninhabitable by 2020.
“SKT Welfare is a charity which does not outsource meaning they take full responsibility for the delivery of all their projects from start to finish. I have personally worked with the charity and observed their transparent approach having witnessed on my five humanitarian aid trips to the Turkish/Syrian border region in recent years.”
If you would like to help Nazim and Sufyaan hit their £3000 target, you can donate on: www.justgiving.com/nazim00786
Completing the Challenge and travel will be SELF-FUNDED ensuring not even a single penny will come out of your donations.
Bradford West MP Naz Shah spoke in the Commons this week on the conflict between Israel and Palestine
Since the Trump Administration came to power, on the surface they have projected an image of trying to bring Israel and Palestine back into talks.
However, the language of Donald Trump has been meek, especially in condemnation of settlement building.
Emboldened, the Knesset has reacted by passing more extreme legislation, and only last month ground was broken with a new “legal” settlement in the West Bank, for the first time in a quarter of a century.
The truth is that we now feel, in many ways, further from
peace than ever: further than ever from a lasting and sustainable peace that would allow Israel to exist in safety and security, bring prosperity, security and self-determination, and give life to the people of Palestine – a fair and peaceful settlement.
Only days ago, I met leading expert Professor Paul Rogers, of the world-renowned peace studies department at Bradford University.
We discussed this issue, and what stood out was that although, in the current context, some would argue that the conflict between Israel and Palestine is small by comparison with that in, say, Syria, in reality it is massive in terms of its symbolism and the way it is used.
It has a significant impact on how terrorism operates in the region and beyond.
It is used to recruit and encourage extremists across the world.
We must understand that peace would be more than a stabilising factor within the region; it would go beyond that.
In the battle against vicious ideologies like that of Daesh, we cannot and must not under-estimate the importance of the Israel-Palestine debate in the wider context of its influence on terror.
There are groups that seek to exploit it for their own gain, and not for the prosperity of the people who are trapped in never-ending conflict.
In 2010, three years after the start of the blockade in Gaza, David Cameron said: “Gaza cannot and must not be allowed to remain a prison camp.”
However, nearly a decade since the start of that blockade, the situation is deteriorating rather than improving.
It is certainly nowhere near the vision of our Government in 2010.
The infrastructure has been decimated.
Bombardment and power shortages are having devastating consequences in hospitals, and a particularly devastating effect
on water treatment.
It has been estimated that there are more than 51,000 displaced people in Gaza.
We must recognise the conditions of life there: they are not conditions that anyone should live in, let alone have enforced upon them.
Internationally, there should be no perpetual state of war and no perpetual state of occupation.
This is occupied territory, and the occupying force has a duty to protect these people. Three generations of Palestinians will have grown up knowing nothing but occupation and fear.
We have been debating the two-state solution and the political parameters of this situation for decades, with no peace or negotiations in sight.
We have to find a way to move through this moment into something better.
No doubt there are moderates on both sides, but concessions are almost impossible.
Israel is impregnable in its insecurities, and that does not bring long-term security. I call on the Government to tell us not what they think but what they intend to do.
How are we going to move this process forward?
As I said the last time I spoke, it is time to move beyond condemnation to accountability.
The fact remains that we have seen 50 years of occupation and 10 years of blockade, and engagement in every peace process that has taken place since 1967 is not unilateral.
What has the Oslo agreement brought Palestinians?
There has been a 600 per cent increase in the number of illegal settlements.
It is time to move beyond condemnation.
Naz Shah is the Labour MP for Bradford West who spoke in a Commons debate on Israel and Palestinian Talks.
DEMONSTRATION: Paveen Yaqub stands outside court in Istanbul which has now ruled that the case be adjourned
High court adjourned as Gaza freedom flotilla fight continues
Families and friends of those killed six years ago in an armed naval attack - led by Israeli Commanders on a ship delivering aid to Gaza – will have to wait at least two more months for answers after the latest court hearing was adjourned.
The 7th Criminal Court of Istanbul held its thirteenth hearing of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla case on 19th October for the fatal raid, of the Mavi Marmara, that took place on 31st May 2010.
However, despite the longevity of the case, a further postponement was deemed necessary by authorities after the last judge was not considered to be impartial.
Paveen Yaqub, who was part of the aid flotilla and saw a fellow passenger – Ugur Suleyman - on board the ship die from a bullet wound to the head, said she is ‘disappointed but not deterred’.
On the latest adjournment, she said: “I felt mistrustful and wondered if it was a tactical move because we had many people represented from different countries, who were flotilla victims.”
She continued: “Perhaps the court and the government think that if they delay, fewer of us will come back in December, and it would be easier for the court to carry through the sentiments of the Turkish and Israeli governments, who have reached their own political agreement that should have no bearing on our legal process.”
During the 2010 attack, nine humanitarian activists were killed and another was left in a coma after he was shot in the head. He later passed away.
Other passengers suffered bullet wounds, dozens were left injured, and hundreds were ‘traumatised’ after being subjected to a bloody and brutal attack at sea.
Surviving victims were subsequently taken from international waters to Israel and detained, until international outrage and intervention ensured their freedom and safe return to home countries, including passengers from the UK.
The flotilla consisted of a fleet of humanitarian ships carrying vital aid and hundreds of charity workers bound for the besieged Gaza strip.
SURVIVOR: Paveen Yaqub was on board an aid ship when it was attacked by Israeli Commanders
Asian Express talked exclusively to Paveen Yaqub about her experiences:
Do the horrors of the Mavi Marmara still feel like yesterday?
Being in Istanbul for the purpose of the court hearing always brings me closer to the memories of the horror that unfolded six years ago when Israeli naval forces opened fire on a on the Mavi Marmara humanitarian ship. Tonight, in Istanbul, victims who have travelled from various countries will gather for a pre-court briefing.
Tomorrow will be worse because the families of those killed will be in court - as they always are.
Seeing them always makes me deeply sad because, not only are they still grieving the loss of their loved ones, but they again will hear the details of the brutality that ended the lives of their husbands, fathers and sons. Yet still justice has not been delivered to them, or any of us who survived the terror that Israel brought to bear on innocent civilians.
What are you hoping to come out of this court case? Do you think you will ever get justice for Ugur Suleyman?
I hope that this court case marks history in shaping a trajectory that holds Israel accountable for its crimes against humanity, for its flagrant disregard for international and humanitarian law, for its illegal military occupation; its criminal blockade of Gaza, and its privileged position of impunity granted by the USA, the UK and the UN.
This isn't simply seeking justice for Ugur Suleyman, Furkan Dogan, or the eight other humanitarians whose lives were worthless in the eyes of Israel commandos - neither is this a justice that I seek for me.
This is a stance against Israeli state terrorism and a service to humanity, a symbolic effort for Palestinians and any other oppressed people that the international community has abandoned because it does not serve their own political and diplomatic interests to care.
Whether we achieve justice or not, it doesn't change the truth nor does it deter me from knowing 'human rights from human wrongs', even if our politicians struggle with this simple concept.
Do you believe news in today’s climate is easily forgotten/ disposable/ and that atrocities get brushed over all too easily?
News always moves at a fast pace and with so many atrocities in the world, it’s difficult for people to respond meaningfully as it can become too overwhelming.
Death and violent conflict is so prevalent that people can also fall into an apathetic state or simply don't want to hear about it anymore, so they disconnect.
However, what is very clear to me is that for mainstream media there is a distinction between those whom deserve our attention and those who do not: the lives which matter and those which are dispensable.
It's a desperately sad situation to consider that, by denying truth and a fair representation of conflict, the mainstream media industry is shaping views about who the victims and perpetrators are, even if these representations are false, biased and misleading.
This dismissive approach to reporting the truth is what is helping to stoke the fires of conflict, unrest and division in our communities.
I have first-hand experience of the BBC for example, reporting the flotilla raid in such a distorted and unfair way. I was there. I know what leading media anchors did to the truth, leaving me questioning so much of what our media and our governments tell us.
How are you rebuilding your life? Do you feel strong?
I am doing better these days and focusing on rebuilding not just my life but my sense of who I am again.
Israel stole something from me that I doubt will ever return but fortunately they didn't take the most important thing I own, my faith. I realise that it's not what is taken from you in this life that matters but what you give, and what you find as you walk the road ahead with belief, hope and humanity. I have something the Israeli commandos were devoid of: I have value for the life of others and I have no place in my heart for hate, not even for them.
I would hope that others who feel they want to serve humanity do so with constructive action and use the processes available to them.
People touched or angered by injustice should hold on to how they feel and channel that into practical actions like lobbying politicians or campaigning peacefully but robustly.
Whether we like it or not, politics is where the power is held and that's where we have to take our grievances over and over again until our governments heed our concerns.
MAVI MARMARA: The raid prompted widespread international reactions and demonstrations around the world
Six years on: Gaza flotilla raid survivor recalls her memories
It has been six years since Paveen Yaqub, a community services manager from Holmfirth, witnessed her friends being massacred on the Gaza flotilla –Mavi Marmara.
She was part of an aid flotilla attempting to breach the blockade of Gaza on 31st May 2010.
The fleet wanted to deliver aid to Gaza, breaking an Israeli and Egyptian blockade on the territory, and were carrying 10,000 tonnes of goods, including school supplies, building materials and two large electricity generators.
"On approach to the area, Israeli forces stopped the flotilla because they wanted to prevent a large amount of goods from reaching Gaza in order to put pressure on Hamas' - which dominates the territory."
Israel also wanted to check that the ships did not contain deliveries of weapons or cash.
In what should have been a peaceful inspection, ten people on board the flotilla were eventually killed by Israeli commandos as violence broke out – the cause of which is still disputed today.
Paveen has just come back from Istanbul for the sixth anniversary of the Flotilla Attack.
FLASHBACKS: Paveen still suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder after the attack on the Mavi Marmara, but is slowly rebuilding her life
She said: “It was on a smaller scale to previous events given the problematic political situation Turkey is facing. I took part in a protest march in Taxim Square denouncing Israel's crimes against humanity and honouring all those who have suffered at the hands of Israeli brutality.
“I met with families of those that were killed in the Mavi Marmara as I do at every anniversary event. It is a time for personal reflection and for respecting those taken so cruelly on board the flotilla.”
The former aid worker recalled what happened on that fateful day.
“Mostly, I remember grief and loss of life. I remember the disbelief of what I was witnessing and the outrage of what Israel has brought to bear on a humanitarian movement. I remember the fear in the eyes of good people and the shock that consumed us.”
Other memories are almost too hard for Paveen to bear.
She continued: “I remember most poignantly holding the hand of a comrade, a Turkish brother named Ugur Suleyman, whilst he suffered in pain and bled profusely from a bullet wound to his head.
“I remember Israeli commandos full of hate with an incredulous disregard for law or logic. I remember how they mocked, hurt and tormented hundreds of civilians.
“I recall not being able to compute that fellow human beings wanted to kill me and those with me, simply because we wanted to bring some ease to the Palestinians being violated under siege every day in Gaza.
“I remember advancing towards masked Israelis pointing machine guns at me aggressively. At that point, I thought I had left this world and passed to the other side.
“I remember pointlessly trying to negotiate medical attention for the wounded; the dying, and being met with threats to my own life. I remember praying continuously for everyone and feeling the closest I have ever felt to my maker.”
The psychological impact of bearing witness to a massacre is long term and is probably something that will never stop affecting Paveen.
“Trying to bring comfort to someone with a bullet in his head is not something you ever imagine experiencing,” she explained. “Saying what you believe are your final prayers and accepting imminent death are moments I could never erase from my memory.”
Various post-traumatic symptoms have plagued Paveen for years since the attack and her ‘life has changed significantly’.
“With the right help I am steadily getting back on track and only recently have confided in those closest to me about the effects which I did a convincing job of masking,” she added.
“Others who survived the attack have had similar after effects. You have to take time to process it and allow yourself to be vulnerable before rebuilding and refocusing on a future with prospects and positivity. My faith has been my saviour thankfully.”
Paveen’s future plans are to continue to heal and ‘regain some semblance of normality and stability’.
She added: “I am grateful for the life I have and feel obligated and compelled to serve humanity as long as I am able. I therefore will remain a peace campaigner and a community advocate for as long as I am able to.”
Paveen’s father has recently passed away and she intends to honour his example of resilience and strength.
“I also will never abandon my passion and belief in striving for justice and peace in whatever small way I can, and without losing my own place in this world.”
WORK: The volunteers were deployed by charitable organisation. Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP), and worked alongside Non-Governmental Organisations in Gaza
Volunteers complete selfless work in war-stricken region
A group of UK-funded NHS surgeons have returned from treating war-wounded patients in Gaza six months after the temporary ceasefire was agreed.
The volunteer doctors visited the region regularly for the past six months to carry out surgery on patients with severe injuries and train doctors in Gaza hospitals to improve their surgical capacities.
The team were deployed by Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP), working with NGO Ideals, with £724,000 in funding from the Department for International Development (DFID).
The funding is part of DFID’s £37 million package of assistance in response to the 2014 Gaza crisis.
Justine Greening, International Development Secretary, said: “Six months on from the temporary ceasefire the situation in Gaza remains dire. Around 108,000 people were left homeless by the conflict and over 11,000 Palestinians were injured.
SUPPORT: Dr Naveen Cavale, a plastic and reconstructive surgery specialist, based at King’s in London, flew to Gaza in September to help train doctors and surgeons whilst also caring for wounded patients
“The vital work of these British surgeons is an important part of the UK effort to help the people of Gaza rebuild their lives. However none of the underlying causes of the conflict have yet been addressed. The UK is playing its part to help those caught up in the conflict, but it is clear the need for a political solution for Gaza is more urgent than ever.”
Amongst the patients who were treated by the British doctors, was nine-year-old Weam.
She was playing in the garden of her home with her father last summer when a rocket landed on them and exploded. She suffered major injuries to both her legs.
Her left leg had to be amputated below the knee, and now she needs a follow-up operation on her right foot.
RECOVERY: Nine-year-old Weam was hit by a rocket and had to have her lower left leg amputated under the care and supervision of British doctors
Two days after the operation, Dr Graeme Groom - an orthopaedic surgeon from King’s College Hospital in London, visited Weam with the team of medics to check up on how she’s recovering.
“I’m happy because they’ve removed all the shrapnel from my leg and I feel better now. Before my leg felt very heavy and now it feels free” she said.
Weam’s mother just wants her daughter to get back to normal.
“I’m so thankful to these doctors giving up their time to come here and help the people of Gaza” she says.
“The facilities here are not good, there is not enough equipment and everything, but with these people coming they bring hope.
“I hope there will be no more wars making problems for our children.
“I just want to see my daughter growing up, continuing her study, playing like other kids and eventually working.”
STOP: Protestors gathered outside Barclay Bank in Leeds in protest against the company’s holding in Elbit Systems
Demonstrators close down banks in ‘Day of Action’
More than 30 people descended down on Barclays bank in Leeds last weekend as a day of action was seen across the country as part of the United Nation’s International Day of Solidarity with Palestine.
Members of the Leeds-based group, Leeds Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) staged a demonstration outside the bank on Albion Street, in protest against Barclay’s investments in Israel.
More than 1.7million people have signed an Avaaz petition calling on the bank to divest its £1.9million holding in Elbit Systems, the Israeli arms company that supplies drones that the Israeli military has been documented to have used in the killing of Palestinian civilians in Gaza.
Demonstrators handed out informative leaflets and spoke with the public about their actions which forced the bank to close for an-hour-and-a-half.
Debbie Locke of Leeds BDS, said: “We have shut down Barclays to show that we will not allow the atrocities Israel commits against the Palestinian people to be funded from here in the UK.
PRESENCE: The Leeds BDS group handed out leaflets and spoke with members of the public about Israel, Palestine and Barclays Bank
“Barclays' own investments in Elbit Systems, an arms manufacturer which creates drones that helped kill over 2,000 people in Gaza this year.
“They were one of the chief supporters of South African apartheid until the global anti-apartheid movement took them to task and now they want to support Israeli apartheid but the Palestine solidarity movement is taking action.”
Similar protests were also held across the country with action taking place in Manchester, Bradford, London, Brighton and more than ten other towns and cities.
The nationwide sit-ins and mass gatherings have helped mount further pressure on the UK government in calls to suspend licenses for the exports of arms to Israel.
Last week, the government announced a second review of licenses for arms exports to Israel after it discovered 12 instances in which weapons containing components produced in the UK may have been used in the Summer 2014 attacks on Gaza.
“The government have announced a new review into arms sales to Israel,but Vince Cable's own review earlier this summer already found arms licences for equipment likely to have been used against the people of Gaza,” said Kat Hobbs from the Campaign Against the Arms Trade.
“This new review will only be worthwhile if it means a real and fundamental change from business as usual.”
Campaigners have previously dismissed attempts by Barclays to defend its investment in Elbit by arguing that it only holds shares on behalf of customers and for the purposes of hedging
The International Cricket Council (ICC) have banned England batsman Moeen Ali from wearing wristbands featuring the slogans "Save Gaza" and "Free Palestine”.
Moeen, 27, who is Muslim and Pakistani descent, wore the wristbands on the second day of the third test (Monday 28th July), against India at Southampton.
England cricketer Moeen Ali has been helping raise funds for relief efforts in Gaza in his home city Birmingham
Moeen’s wristbands were only on public display for just over 40 minutes while he made 12 runs off 28 balls before he was caught off India seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Though Moeen was backed by the England and Wales Cricket Board, he was told by match referee David Boon - the former Australia batsman who is the ICC’s match referee, to remove the wristband and not wear them again while playing for England.
The ICC regulations prohibit players from displaying political, religious or racial statements on their clothing and equipment while taking part in international matches.
England had cleared Moeen to wear the bands, arguing that he was making a humanitarian statement and not a political one.
The ban has been deemed “controversial” as the whole team wore the logo of the Help for Heroes charity on their shirts on Tuesday 29th July to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the first world war.
But the ICC issued the following statement: “The ICC equipment and clothing regulations do not permit the display of messages that relate to political, religious or racial activities or causes during an international match.
“Moeen Ali was told by the match referee that while he is free to express his views on such causes away from the cricket field, he is not permitted to wear the wristbands on the field of play and warned not to wear the bands again during an international match.”
Moeen, who has been involved in helping raise funds in his home city Birmingham for charities working to raise funds for Gaza relief efforts, has had the backing of his team.
England and Wales Cricket have said that "as far as we are concerned, he has not committed any offence," adding it was up to the ICC to decide what action, if any, Ali should face.
Nevertheless, other cricketers expressed their support of Ali on social media.
"We have always worn wristbands or ribbons when showing support 4an incident or raising awareness,we do it for animal rights too,y not humans," wrote former Pakistan cricketer Azhar Mahmood on Twitter.
"Absolutely love this! Well done Moeen bro! Keep showing your support! #Pray4Gaza" wrote England cricketer Ajmal Shahzad.
"Good on brother mo! #prayforGaza" wrote Lancashire and former England bowler Kabir Ali.
On Friday, Malaysian cyclist Azizulhasni Awang was warned he risked being thrown out of the Commonwealth Games if he repeated wearing gloves bearing the message "Save Gaza".
Awang could have been ejected from the 2014 Glasgow Games after wearing the gloves in competition on Thursday.
Instead the 26-year-old was given a reprimand and warned not to wear them again.
The Commonwealth Games Federation seeks to avoid its competitions being used for political means.
Though Awang insisted his message was "humanitarian" rather than politically-charged, he issued an apology.
Activist Ashleigh Shaw gives Asian Express readers her opinion on the world-wide press coverage on the ongoing Gaza conflict
ACTIVIST: Ashlieigh Shaw
Since the three Israeli settlers were kidnapped and subsequently found dead, the Israeli authorities have escalated their control over the people of Gaza, as usual in the form of violence, fear and bombing from land, sea and air.
Since the beginning of the escalation, ordinary people, from around the globe, from all walks of life, all religions, all cultures, have joined together, sometimes in their tens of thousands, to show their support for the Palestinian people.
Their soul purpose has been to voice their contempt for the disproportionate Israeli attacks and collective punishment, of the already beleaguered citizens of Gaza, and also the West Bank.
The mainstream media, such as the BBC, from here in Britain, were reporting the attacks on Gaza, as a justification for Hamas rocket attacks.
As for my part at this point, I could not bare the bias reporting of the situation, and reached for my phone, and made a video giving a brief outline of what was actually happening, and why Hamas had fired the rockets.
What began to become clear was that Hamas were reacting in self-defence after the mass arrests of civilians.
After a few days, reports came pouring in over social media, especially Facebook, showing that people were beginning to protest in favour of Palestine, and against the Israeli attack on them.
Yet our British mainstream media remained silent.
As a direct result of the video I had posted to Facebook, I was contacted and asked to speak at a protest outside BBC Media City, Manchester, to show our outrage at the clear misinformation and pro-Israeli bias.
The protest was attended by around 5,000 people and I can assure you - we were very loud.
The BBC reported the protest, as a short paragraph stating that the protest was against the Israeli attack on it's website, but still, we had nothing on the mainstream news.
If there is a large demonstration anywhere, the media is there, on the ground, in the thick of it, giving us minute-by-minute reports. So why the silence now?
This is not a couple of small protests, this is a global out pouring of humanity towards the Palestinian people, surely - a mass global movement is worthy of reporting.
At the heart of the matter, lies the ‘no-criticism-of-Israel’ policy, which appears to have been adopted by both the world's governments and mainstream media with equal guilt.
What makes Israel so special?
Why is it that we are allowed to criticise every other country on the planet, yet criticism of Israel is actively suppressed?
Without entering into the realm of conspiracy here, the fact of the matter is, that Israeli lobbies are a powerful force.
They have infilterated most governments, American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in the U.S.A. and the Board of Deputies of British Jews (BDBJ) in Britain for example
Their purpose? To fight for the rights of the Zionist state, behind the closed doors of OUR government's conference rooms.
Our governments put the interests of Israel, before those of it's own people, and that of the Palestinians, and now they are actively censoring the Global Media.
Frustrated BBC journalists had to resort to tweeting pictures of the protests below their offices at BBC headquarters in London.
It is a most disturbing turn of events, and those which must be addressed. We want a free press, not a Zionist press.
One Direction singer Zayn Malik has had a deluge of murder threats and messages of complaint on Twitter for supporting the #FreePalestine campaign
Zayn Malik probably knew his protest tweet was the right decision and would cause a stir when he fired it off to his 13 million followers.
The hashtag has been trending for weeks now, and Zayn hit a massive 130,000 retweets and 138,000 favourites in a matter of minutes, and within 24 hours accumulated 230,000 retweets and favourites.
The popstar's dedicated fans are an engaged bunch on social media. Even a simple smiley emoticon issued from his account clocks up 180,000 retweets.
However, it soon became apparent that not everyone agreed with his sentiments on Palestine, as it’s earned the young singer rebukes, abuse and even death threats.
Angry Israeli fans have sent him some heavily furious and alarmingly violent responses calling for him to "kill himself" or to let them kill him instead.
The death threats even came from former fans, such as this person who continued to tweet Malik and anyone supporting him.
Of course, Malik isn’t the first famous face to tweet about the conflict. Rihanna forced a similar reaction when she posted #FreePalestine via her official account, only to delete it minutes later.
The current Gaza conflict has resulted in the deaths of more than 1200 Palestinians and around 60 Israelis.
It's also caused a spike in online abuse and arguments. Several racist hashtags have been trending for days.
Many social media users are sharing graphic images of victims on both sides.
Interestingly, many celebrities have been wary of commenting on the issue, spiking resentment and anger amongst their fan bases.
On Facebook, one person said: “Shocking how our Asian music artists and Bollywood celebrities have stayed away from voicing their opinion about the mass killing of Palestinians. Disgusted! If you can’t support your fans – why should your fans support you?”
Asian artists who have stepped forward and commented publically include England cricketer Moeen Ali, boxers Amir Khan and Adil Anwar, singers Usman Rehman, Shide Boss, Nafees, Bonafide, Kash Chaudhry, Nabz Chaudhry and dancers SonaAsh.
Thousands turn out to protest against the broadcaster’s coverage on Palestine-Israel conflict ￼
UNITED: Over 5,000 people protested outside BBC Manchester offices over “biased" reporting” (Picture credit: Raja Nasar Mahmood)
Thousands of people travelled and joined others across London, Newcastle, Manchester, Glasgow and Liverpool last weekend, to demonstrate their utter outrage and dissatisfaction with BBC’s "reporting bias” towards Israel on the Gaza coverage since airstrikes began.
More than 5,000 people partook in the 'Drive4Justice' demonstrations at Media City in Manchester on Saturday 12th July. Other BBC offices throughout the country also saw campaigners in their hundreds gather outside to voice their objections.
Organisers of the Manchester Media City demonstration, Blackburn-based Youth on a Mission, say that the BBC has a duty and obligation to its licence-fee-payers on fair reporting as a public service broadcaster.
Youth on a Mission state that the BBC have maintained a pro-Israeli bias on the manner in which it has publicised the conflict and therefore skewed public views into believing that it's the Palestinian's who have triggered the attacks.
Since Israel’s heavy bombardment of Gaza began, on July 8th, social media has been ablaze with graphic videos and images of innocent Palestinian civilians including children and babies being injured or killed. It’s been after these clips became viral, predominantly through Facebook, that activists for 'Drive4Justice' have felt obligated to stage their discontent with BBC.
Gaza has no army, air force, or navy, while Israel possess one of the strongest militaries and state-of-the art combat tech in the world. Hamas, an organisation with a military wing, is it’s only defence and that too with small arms and often home-made offensives.
25-year-old Adnan Hussain of 'Youth on a Mission' says that news coverage was “devoid of context or background” about the previous Israeli occupation of Gaza.
Adnan commented: “The least one would expect from BBC is to remain impartial.
“The BBC, and other news networks such as Fox and Sky, have all reported in similar tones as the BBC.
"It’s 'number of dead Palestinians' vs 'number of Israelis killed - there’s a very manipulative reason why mainstream media chooses those particular words to report on fatalities.
“Not only that, when talking about the two conflicting sides, media relays it as 'Israeli Army' vs 'Gaza militants'. The Palestinians have been labelled as the aggressive party!
“We have to get the facts right here – the Israeli government has relentlessly been stealing land from the Palestinians. Let's not forget that only a few decades ago there was no “Israel” – it was all Palestine.
“How often has that been clarified by the media?”
The Gaza Crisis and the atrocities that the Palestinians have been subjugated to is not something new, with unrest in the region happening for decades. So the question is “Why now? What has triggered so many people into stepping forward eager to stage the protests?”
'Youth on a Mission' says: “The objective of 'Drive4Justice' is to deliver the message to our government and organisations such as the BBC, that we can gain the support of the people and that we can unveil the truths.
Via Facebook Adnan roped in the support of Bradford-based mother-of-two, Naz Shah, just two days prior to the BBC Manchester rally.
Mother-of-two Naz Shah organised the convoy from Bradford to Manchester
Naz says: “It’s all down to social media. Social media is something that we all, including our younger generation taps into, and this is how we relayed the message of the rally and it snowballed from there.
“For me, it was watching video clips of innocent children’s bodies ripped apart because of missile attacks on their homes. I have two young children myself - anyone who cannot be moved after witnessing the utter despair that the Palestinians are going through, just isn’t human.
Other demonstrations and vigils in the country have called upon Britain’s Prime Minister, David Cameron, to intervene in bringing an end to the "the brutal intensification of violence upon the Palestinians" at hands of the Israelis.
Locally, over 3000 people gathered on Sunday 13th July at Bradford Centenary Square.
The organiser of the Bradford rally, who wishes to stay out of the limelight, says that he feels that the government needs to be made aware that people are no longer ignorant of the Israel-Palestine conflict.
He said: “Okay, we might not be able to stop a war by such protests, but we sure can get a message loud and clear out to the people to push their local MP’s into addressing the issue with the government.
Other faith groups including Rabbi's condemn the violence in Gaza
"The BBC, and other news networks such as Fox and Sky, have all reported in similar tones as the BBC"
“We saw Rabbi’s step forward and condemn the actions of the Israeli government. We saw other faith groups turn up and stand for humanity. We saw our local councillor’s come out and pledge their support.
“We’re fortunate to be born in the western world, the least we can do is fight for humanity and stand up for those people who are suffering at the hands of blatant injustice in other countries.”
London Downing Street
Protests continue across Britain in disapprobation to Israel’s heavy bombardment of Gaza.
A major rally, which saw over 100,000 people, took place in London and outside the Israeli Embassy and Number 10 Downing Street on Saturday 19th July 19th July.
Although some areas were cordoned off, swarms of people continued to show their support in a peaceful manner.
With the death toll of Palestinians standing at around 300 people, including some 80 children and over 1900 people injured, getting immediate international medical aid to the region is proving difficult. UN estimated that over 77 per cent of those killed were innocent civilians.
Adnan says: “I feel that our governments stance on what’s happened over the past nine days is disappointing to say the least.
“We want to make clear that as a nation we are disgusted that no political intervention has taken place from Britain and that we call upon a review of our foreign policies.”
History in brief
Palestine-Israel conflict – what is it all about?
Just over 100 years ago Zionism didn’t exist nor did the state of Israel
1917-1920s Baron Rothschild, a leader of the British Jewish community approached the British government asking for land to set up a Jewish homeland. The British agreed, with it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which would prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish people. The Balfour Declaration allowing for the Jewish people to make homes in Palestine was therefore signed.
After WWII Israel declared itself as a state 1948. Palestinians have been removed since that time and therefore they've been fighting back ever since
1967 War broke out due to the bulldozing of Palestinian houses, business etc., for the establishing of Jewish-only settlements
Apartheid: Due to international laws it’s illegal to settle on occupied territory - this then makes Israelis the illegal occupying forces